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Govt reluctant to tighten security in prisons

By SANJOY RAY

GUWAHATI, Oct 31 � Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi�s words of concern regarding security in the jails in Assam in the wake of the recent spurt in incidents of jailbreak, do not go parallel with his action, given the Government�s apathy in filling up crucial and top posts in the prisons department.

Gogoi�s Government, for years, has also been found reluctant in taking corrective measures to add teeth to the existing security mechanism.

Sources, in the department also alleged that some of the VIP and VVIPs in the State are enjoying services of more security personnel compared to the entire strength of some prisons in the State.

According to information available with this correspondent, three posts of the Deputy Inspector General of Prisons, including Guwahati and Jorhat Range, are lying vacant for over a year now. Two posts of Assistant Inspector General of Prisons and five posts of Jail Superintendents are also lying vacant for quite some time.

�In no other State in India, the IG (Prisons) is an ACS officer. Although there has been a long-pending demand for appointing an IPS officer in the post, the plea has fallen on deaf ears. Only once in the early 1990s that an IPS officer named Hari Das Kachari was appointed as the IG (Prisons). He served at the office for only a year,� sources in the department told this reporter.

Questions are also being raised as to why the IG (Prisons) is so frequently changed.

�Just when one gets the feel of the things, he or she is transferred, raising suspicion in many quarters about large-scale corruption and malpractices in the prisons of the State,� sources rued.

Further, even after so many incidents of jailbreak, the provision of installing close circuit television cameras in prisons has not received the nod from the authorities for many years. It is no secret that prisons in Assam lack adequate strength of guarding staff, along with doctors and nurses.

A proposal to install jammer in prisons to deactivate mobile phone network within a certain radius also found no takers in the policy making circle of Dispur.

Moreover, jails in Assam do not even have the provision of watch towers with a guard.

Many people allege that under the existing operating system, incidents of jailbreak would continue to recur as prisons in Assam lack the basic minimum security features, compared to jails in other parts of the country.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had expressed concern over the jailbreak incidents after five prisoners managed to give jail guards a slip from the Guwahati, Silchar, Hamren, Karimganj and Haflong jails in the span of last four months or so. Six security guards and one assistant jailor were suspended following the incidents.

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Govt reluctant to tighten security in prisons

GUWAHATI, Oct 31 � Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi�s words of concern regarding security in the jails in Assam in the wake of the recent spurt in incidents of jailbreak, do not go parallel with his action, given the Government�s apathy in filling up crucial and top posts in the prisons department.

Gogoi�s Government, for years, has also been found reluctant in taking corrective measures to add teeth to the existing security mechanism.

Sources, in the department also alleged that some of the VIP and VVIPs in the State are enjoying services of more security personnel compared to the entire strength of some prisons in the State.

According to information available with this correspondent, three posts of the Deputy Inspector General of Prisons, including Guwahati and Jorhat Range, are lying vacant for over a year now. Two posts of Assistant Inspector General of Prisons and five posts of Jail Superintendents are also lying vacant for quite some time.

�In no other State in India, the IG (Prisons) is an ACS officer. Although there has been a long-pending demand for appointing an IPS officer in the post, the plea has fallen on deaf ears. Only once in the early 1990s that an IPS officer named Hari Das Kachari was appointed as the IG (Prisons). He served at the office for only a year,� sources in the department told this reporter.

Questions are also being raised as to why the IG (Prisons) is so frequently changed.

�Just when one gets the feel of the things, he or she is transferred, raising suspicion in many quarters about large-scale corruption and malpractices in the prisons of the State,� sources rued.

Further, even after so many incidents of jailbreak, the provision of installing close circuit television cameras in prisons has not received the nod from the authorities for many years. It is no secret that prisons in Assam lack adequate strength of guarding staff, along with doctors and nurses.

A proposal to install jammer in prisons to deactivate mobile phone network within a certain radius also found no takers in the policy making circle of Dispur.

Moreover, jails in Assam do not even have the provision of watch towers with a guard.

Many people allege that under the existing operating system, incidents of jailbreak would continue to recur as prisons in Assam lack the basic minimum security features, compared to jails in other parts of the country.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had expressed concern over the jailbreak incidents after five prisoners managed to give jail guards a slip from the Guwahati, Silchar, Hamren, Karimganj and Haflong jails in the span of last four months or so. Six security guards and one assistant jailor were suspended following the incidents.

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